How are Mennonites and Anabaptists working at peace today?

In the 16th century, Anabaptists soon learned to test their ideas, gleaned from searching and reading the Bible with their brothers and sisters in the church. Similarly, Mennonites today continue to find wisdom as they test ideas and convictions with their church community. Sisters and brothers also provide support to live out their convictions.

The recently adopted Mennonite confession of faith states briefly: “We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God’s peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare.”

Rather than withdrawing from the world, Mennonites in the later half of the 1900s explore involvement in the issues of the day.

Mennonite views have undergone change in recent decades. Rather than withdrawing from the world, Mennonites in the later half of the 1900s explore involvement in the issues of the day. Books such as John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus point out that the Jesus of the gospels aggressively engaged the sociopolitical issues of his time. Mennonites still reject all violence, but believe that nonviolent resistance in a just cause–for the sake of others–can be an expression of Christian love (from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Volume 5, 1990, Herald Press).

Thus, Mennonites today tie peace strongly to a ministry of justice. “We do so in a spirit of gentleness, willing to be persecuted for righteousness sake … We witness against all forms of violence, including war among nations, hostility among races and classes, abuse of children and women, violence between men and women, abortion, and capital punishment.”

Ministries of mediation, conciliation and nonviolent resolution of everyday conflict are further ways of caring out a commitment to Christ’s way of peace.

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